The last time I tried to kill him, I failed miserably. No blood, no 911 calls, hell – he didn’t even know his life was in danger. I’m lucky the District Attorney didn’t press charges. He didn’t die, and I didn’t go to jail, so I call it even.

Sometimes I’m happy I failed, other times not so much. The longer I live with him, the more I realize I don’t know him. Nobody does. Not even his mom – God rest her soul. All the laughs, charm, and philanthropy he spews out are nothing more than silage for his deceptions.

Such a great guy!
God broke the mold when they made him!
Man of integrity!
So genuine and thoughtful.
A classic man. mire

Bullshit. My husband is proud, manipulative beyond measure, and he doesn’t wash his hands. I hate eating popcorn with him at the movies. I always feel like I’ll ingest some unwashed hand germ that will cause all of my hair to fall out. Then why did I marry him, you ask? Well, when I fell in love with him thirty-five years ago, he fooled me the same way he suckers the masses. I was just another victim. I’m leaving him, though. Today, in fact. It won’t make sense to most people to end a “good” marriage after thirty-five years and four beautiful children, but that’s what I’m going to do right after breakfast.

I feel bad that the kids might miss us being together, but people get divorced every day. It’s nothing new. And co-parenting isn’t that bad these days. Some divorced families even go on vacation together, I’ve seen it for myself. No one has enough energy for the drama.

I’m not as worried about the kids as I am about my unwitting relatives. I can hear them talking now:

What are you doing, girl?
He’s a good man.
Who you gone be with now?
You know you are forty pounds heavier than you were when y’all met, right?

I don’t care. Yeah, I’m thicker, and yes, my husband rubs my feet and supports my dreams. But it’s not enough to balance out the undesirable stuff, like his dirty hands and lazy eye. Man, that eye has tripped me up for years. I never know when he’s looking at me, and it gets on my nerves. But it’s not just the stupid eye. It’s me; I want to laugh again and have my own thoughts back and be free to do what I want when I want.


Today is the day. I’ve been planning this for the past ten years. I’m a morning person, and anything of significance that I do has to be before noon or it won’t happen. I’ve forgiven him for a lot of his crap—the lies, the games, and our fourth child that I didn’t birth. I took a lot from him, and he’s taken a lot from me. I don’t want to make it seem like it’s his entire fault. But I’m a work in progress.

See, my husband isn’t the only one who’s haughty and vengeful. I spent years plotting against people who had forgotten the menial indiscretions that hurt my pride years ago. But I never forget anything. Before you judge me, just know that I come from a long line of avengers, so it’s not my fault. I didn’t land in the retribution game; the retribution game landed on me. I’m just doing the best I can with the cards I’ve been dealt.

I’ve seen my grandmother do it all my life. Once, Madea intentionally burned all ten sweet potato pies for the Annual Crab Feed because Pastor wouldn’t let her make her world-famous peach cobbler. Pastor said Sister Irma was making cobbler so Madea could make the pies. Not a good call, Pastor. The burned pies sent her message loud and clear, and she never made a cobbler for the church again. God rest her sweet soul.

Then there’s my mama. She’s the sweetest, meanest lady you ever want to meet. She’s as tall as broom and ferocious. She’ll give you the clothes off of her back, and turn around and rip them off of you if you do something she doesn’t like. She’s never like that with my siblings or me, but I’ve seen her break a few hearts in her day. I used to blame mama for my mean streak, but OG Madea raised her, so mama’s chances of being a nice person were slim to nil.

Then there’s me—smart-mouthed, computer hacking, liberal me, who hates cooking, accountability, and anything that contains ginger. I like people, and I want to be a nice person, it’s just always been hard for me. While some people can love unconditionally and forgive at the drop of a hat, I need time to heal and forgive. Just doesn’t come naturally to me; and my friends and family (bless their hearts) have all accepted that about me. They love me in spite of myself, and I am lucky to have such people in my life.


I met my loving, rotten husband on a European Cruise when we were both young and agile. He had all of his hair, and I could still see my abdominal muscles.

It was long before arthritis and back spams set in. He was on the cruise with his family for a family reunion, and I was with my parents. I saw him sitting in a lounge chair in cargo shorts, a Malcolm X tee, and flip-flops. He was cute-ish. As sitting president of the Beard Gang, I was disappointed in his lack of facial hair, but there was something about him. I was intrigued by the way he pretended not see me even though I removed my sarong so he could see all of the blessings God bestowed upon me.

“You looking for something?” he finally said after I passed his chair three times.

“Me? No.” I glanced beneath his chair then quickly at his left hand.

“I don’t believe that.” He sat up and sat his book to the side. His eyes were bright, and he looked deep into my eyes. I gave him my cell number and the rest is history.


We are married socially, live separately, and eat edibles for balance. I think it’s what keeps us together. We don’t fight like we used to. We have resolved to subsist in stony silence that downgrades to malleable when we are among company.

He’s never been close with the kids. They are all adults now, and some have children of their own, but they only come around when I’m home. I guess that will change when I move out.

My husband wasn’t the type to bond, but he’d do anything for me. And he still does. He’s as thoughtful as any human being can be with his loud-snoring ass. He’s always been a hustler, and I stayed clear of his business. I never checked his phone, inquire about friends I’ve never met, and in thirty-five years I never knew his social security number. We kept our money, bills and family problems separate and I believe that’s another thing that kept us together this long. He wasn’t great at hiding things though, and his sister would tell me something he had tried to hide, or I’d run into one of his kids and find out something else. That’s how we lived. We didn’t talk; we didn’t share; we just existed.


We got married in Jamaica among all of our family and friends who could afford to go. We jumped the broom, danced all night, and he managed to carry me across the threshold. I was much lighter back then. It was an incredible day with the most thoughtful, loving man in the world.

Three years into our relationship, he cheated on me and bought me a Porsche Cayenne and a new baby into our house to make up for it. I could care less about the car, but I fell in love with the little brown baby. He fit right in with the rest of our kids, but it hurt to look at the little fellow. It reminded me that the man I loved more than anything had taken time with another woman and broken my heart into a million pieces.

I don’t care that he said it didn’t mean anything to him.
I don’t care that he said he only saw her twice.
I found out about the cheating by accident, and that’s when I tried to kill him.


Thankfully, there was recorded proof that my car brakes had gone out before. And since my husband said that I didn’t see him walking down the driveway, there was no proof of attempted murder. No trial, no jail time served. Needless to say, I learned my lesson.

I’ve thought about killing him a dozen times, but I never pursued it again.

I’ve decided on something less dramatic—divorce.


I woke up this morning with my mind set on leaving this house that has been my home for the past thirty-five years. The custom deck we designed together, the bar that we’ve entertained so many people at, the photos of all the luxurious vacations. Our children. Our dogs. I’ll take my jewelry, but I’ve decided to leave everything else. That way he won’t have anything to fight me about in court.

I don’t want anything except to get away from him. He’s mellowed out in his senior years. Not as ornery or demanding as he used to be and he’s become more affectionate in his old age. But it’s not enough. I’m tired.

I have convinced myself that this has nothing to do with my diagnosis and more to do with who I am. Some will say I’m trying to protect him, but that’s not true. Sure, chemotherapy will be an adjustment, and my chances of survival are less than fifty percent, but either way, I want out. I want to leave this house and all of the bad memories in it. I want to fly like a bird on to a life of freedom, happiness, and something new… even if I have to do it with little energy and no hair.


I’m in the kitchen, making his favorite breakfast, and he comes shuffling across the room. His hands are probably filthy. I hate the way he walks, but it’s our last morning together, so I make nice.

“Well, good morning,” I roar.

“Good morning,” he gruffs.

Can’t say I’ll miss this daily joy. 

“What are you up to today?” he asks.

“Well, I have something important to tell you. You better sit down.”

“What important could you possibly have to tell me at one o’clock in the afternoon?”

One o’clock? What happened to the time?

“We are out of bacon. You’ll have to eat sausage this morning.”



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Tamika Christy

Tamika is an Oakland native who began journaling in elementary school. She started writing stories in high school and further developed her passion in college, where she realized her talent for creating multidimensional characters. Tamika's first novel, Any Time Soon, won the Next Generation Finalist Award for African American Fiction.